I'm not certain there ever was a time when I could have characterized Jim Matheson's opinion as "relevant to me," but it sure as hell isn't now, after decades of cronyism have shrunken the critical thinking portion of Matty's brain to the size of a collectible California raisin toy, minus the gloves, sunglasses, sneakers and thrilling dance moves.
As such, why anyone in Edmonton bothers to write into the Journal's "Ask Matty" segment anymore is a beyond me. But write in they do, and all too often they're rewarded with answers like the one given Wednesday to reader Jim Holowchak's question on arena sizes around the NHL and whether spending millions to increase Rexall's seating capacity is worth it. Ahem:
Q I'd like to see a list of the 30 NHL arenas and their seating capacities. Who has the largest rink and how much bigger is it than ours? I question where spending $500 million to increase our seating in a new rink by a couple of thousand is worth it. It doesn't matter what level of government pays, it's still coming from the same overtaxed worker in Canada. (Jim Holowchak, Edmonton)Matty continues to over-service the softball first half of Mr. Holowchak's question by firing up the old Googlin' machine and dutifully list seating capacities of all 30 NHL rinks as promised, all the while ignoring the second, far more interesting, half of the reader's query until the end where all of a sudden WHAM! he miraculously arrives at the conclusion that Edmonton "should probably have a building that has 18,000 seats."
A The biggest NHL building is the Bell Centre in Montreal (21,273) and it's sold out every night. United Centre in Chicago seats 20,500. Detroit's Joe Louis Arena is third at 20,066 and the sooner they bulldoze that barn the better. The only rink smaller than Rexall Place's 16,839 capacity is Long Island's Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 16,234, and it lost most of its charm when Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy left. Here's the list from top to bottom, bearing in mind that there's a difference between capacity and actual fannies in the seats. Lots of NHL rinks are big, but they're too big (The United Centre is like an airport hangar with no atmosphere and almost never full). The Oilers should probably have a building that has 18,000 seats.
Uh, okay. So some places are really big, others are small, but then again some are TOO big, ergo the Oilers should add a couple thousand more seats... ? Thanks, Matty. You can totter off back to bed now.